Town of Fremont

Sullivan County, New York

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Blue Stone Demand Wanes

Portland cement replaced the flag stone eventually but a concrete curb would not stand up under the traffic of steel tires on horse drawn trucks. Blue stone curb continued in demand. Granite from the south finally was found more durable than blue stone - it was harder - and docks everywhere were filled with blue stone curb for which there was no demand. The granite had replaced it.
Over the many years that blue stone was in demand, an immense amount of it was quarried in Fremont. The town ranked first in its production in Sullivan County. A trip along Route 97, if one will look at the mountainsides, the scars in the surface can easily be seen today, particularly when the leaves have fallen. In places it seems the entire top of the mountain has been cut away. These scars are all locations of blue stone quarries. A careful examination from the distance of the state road, 97, (even though such an examination can be only very casual) will impress one of the immensity of the enterprise.
One of the big operators was Anthony Manny and son. This started by a partnership of Anthony Manny of Jeffersonville with a man named Ross at Hankins under the firm name of Manny and Ross. Eventually Manny bought out Ross and took his son Henry as a partner. The Manny family sold out to Kenney and moved to Binghamton.

Kenneys Come Here in 1889

The Kenney Brothers - Edward, Patrick and John - came to Long Eddy in 1889 from Hurley in Ulster County, where they had worked in blue stone quarries. John Kenney had come to Tusten the year before and worked in a quarry in Tusten. Coming to Long Eddy, they searched the mountainside for good stone. One was found part the way up the mountain back of McKoon’s home. After it was opened (opening consisted of taking off the top and removing stone that had been damaged by exposure, etc.), it proved to be the best quarry of all they opened - and they opened a great many later. Luck was with them to lead them to start on the best. This quarry produced thousands and thousands of top quality blue stone. The records show that one year they marketed over $3,000,000 worth of blue stone.
The Kenney Brothers bought the John Botsford store and sent for their half-brother, James, to conduct it. They bought the Geer House to have a dock on the railroad to load their stone. This Geer property had on it a boarding house in which raftsmen put up for the night after fastening their rafts in the Long Eddy. Geer was the first settler in Long Eddy. His original purchase also included the acid factory property and the record shows that he bought it from a man named Dusinberry living at Ellenville. There is some demand for bluestone today and it brings good prices but it is a much different business. Jesse Howes of Sidney Center, who was the contractor who built the viaduct at the Basket, told me that he ran into good luck when he built that structure because he found skilled workers living near the job - men who knew how to work stone. This was twenty years ago. Since then many of the skilled stone cutters have died. Some do remain, however.